The Write Thing to Say

Okay, before I get accused of poor spelling or word usage, let me just say I meant to use “write” in the title. Today I want to discuss words and their complexity.

For most writers, a thesaurus is an absolutely necessary tool, but beware as they can be a dangerous tool as well. What do I mean by this? It’s really a matter of having the right words fit in the right situation. Here’s an example:

The tall blonde walked over to him, a smile pasted on her face.

Say I decided to look up the word walk (a very common one as people are always walking everywhere in stories). Here is what I come up with: saunter, stroll, amble, march, stride, pace, hike, toddle, totter, stagger, move, go, etc. Saunter and totter certainly bring to mind two very different images. The first could be very seductive while the second brings to mind a blond who might have had a few drinks too many. But what if I used the word “moved,” changing the sentence to:

The tall blonde moved over to him, a smile pasted on her face.

Sounds vague, huh? The saunter and totter definitely bring to mind more specific images than a simple walk or a move. Still, other options such as “go on foot” or promenade sound like a completely wrong fit. An easy mistake to make if you don’t have a deeper understanding of the English language.

Moral of the story? Use the tools out there for you, but be careful and always double check how you use them if you aren’t sure. The care will definitely yield better results.

Happy Writing this week!


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